Clean Monday around the world in 2025

Clean Monday around the world in 2025
The sight of colourful kites in the sky in Greece means that it’s Clean Monday, the beginning of Great Lent.
  How long until Clean Monday?
Clean Monday
  Dates of Clean Monday around the world
2025 Various Mar 3
CyprusMon, Mar 3National Holiday
GreeceMon, Mar 3National Holiday
2024 Various Mar 18
CyprusMon, Mar 18National Holiday
GreeceMon, Mar 18National Holiday
2023 Various Feb 27
CyprusMon, Feb 27National Holiday
GreeceMon, Feb 27National Holiday
2022 Various Mar 7
CyprusMon, Mar 7National Holiday
GreeceMon, Mar 7National Holiday
2021 Various Mar 15
CyprusMon, Mar 15National Holiday
GreeceMon, Mar 15National Holiday

Also known as Ash Monday. Clean Monday begins the season of Great Lent in Eastern Orthodox Churches

  Which countries observe Clean Monday in 2025?
National Holiday Regional Holiday Not a public holiday Govt Holiday
Related holidays

When is Clean Monday?

Also known as Orthodox Shrove Monday or Ash Monday. In Cyprus, the holiday may be called 'Green Monday'.

Clean Monday ("Kathara Deftera") begins the season of Great Lent ("Sarakosti") in Eastern Orthodox Churches on the first day of the seventh week before the Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday.

Traditions of Clean Monday

Great Lent corresponds to Lent as found in Western Christianity, though the lengths of the periods are calculated in different ways. They both use a period of 40 days between the beginning and end of Lent, because of the 40 days that Jesus is said to have spent fasting the desert. However, Western Christendom doesn't count Sundays because Jesus is recorded as having resurrected on a Sunday, whereas Eastern Orthodox churches do count Sundays.

Liturgically, Great Lent begins on the preceding Sunday night, at a special service in which all present bow down before one another and ask for forgiveness. In this way, the faithful begin the Great Lent with a clean conscience, forgiveness and renewed Christian love

This first day of Great Lent is called "Clean Monday" because Christians should begin the holy season with "clean hearts and good intentions." It is also because the season of Lent is regarded as a time when Christians should clean up their spiritual house, coming to terms with their lives and rededicating themselves to a more holy and righteous way of living.

Clean Monday is a day of strict fasting. Christians are not allowed to eat from midnight to noon and can have no meat at all. Christians are also expected to spend extra time praying during the day and reading from the Bible.

The day of Clean Monday is sometimes called “Ash Monday,” by analogy to Ash Wednesday, the day on which Lent begins in Western Christianity.

Because Clean Monday is also considered to mark the first day of spring, Greeks tend to celebrate it with outdoor activities and picnics rather than fasting and prayer. These activities are often called 'koulouma'.

Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on two major feast days: on March 25th (Annunciation of the Virgin Mary) and on Palm Sunday

The consumption of shellfish and mollusks, however, is permitted in Greek Orthodox Churches.

Traditional foods include olives, taramosalata, octopus, and shrimp. A special kind of unleavened bread called "lagana" is baked only on Clean Monday.  The history of lagana dates back to the Old Testament and alludes to the help offered by God to the Israeli people while guiding them from Egypt to the promised land.

Greek children also create Kyra Sarakosti, known as Lady Lent. Without a mouth or ears, and with seven legs, she is either created out of dough or in cardboard cut-outs. Children cut off one of her legs per week until Easter.

In addition to picnics, outdoor activities used to celebrate the day include building and flying kites, dancing, and music.

Did you know?

According to some, kite flying was brought to Greece from the east - kites were flown in ancient China as far back as 1,000 BC. However, others state that it goes back to the experiments of the Greek mathematician and engineers Archytas in about 400 BC.

Apart from kite flying, many areas in Greece maintain their own regional customs on Clean Monday. In Thebes, an old custom dating from 1830, called the “Vlach Wedding” — in reference to the matchmaking of the time — is revived each year, with all participants joining in the festivities with satirical songs and lots of dancing.

Meanwhile, in the village of Mesta on the Greek island of Chios, in another Clean Monday custom, which has its roots in the period of Ottoman Greece, the village is “invaded” by an Ottoman military officer along with his troops, who after gathering all residents to the central square, makes them pay a fine for the charges brought against them. The 'fine' is then given as tribute to the cultural association of the village.

Kali Sarakosti! 

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